Reply to Emails With Original Attachments in Mac OS X Mail

Override Mail to attach files to your email replies

It's common to received files attached to emails. Typically, when you reply to an email, you quote just enough of the original message in your reply for the recipient to know what you are writing about, and you don't include any large attachments to the original email in the reply. By default, the Mail application in Mac OS X  and macOS includes only a text file name for each of the files that were attached to the original message in subsequent replies.

What about replies that include people who may not have received the original message and its files or replies to people you know will ask you to resend the attachments? The Mac Mail application can make an exception and send complete files rather than text placeholders.

Information is this article applies to the Mail application in the following operating systems: macOS Catalina (10.15), macOS Mojave (10.14), macOS High Sierra (10.13), macOS Sierra (10.12), OS X El Capitan (10.11), OS X Yosemite (10.10), OS X Mavericks (10.9), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8), and OS X Lion (10.7).

MacBook image with mail
 alexsi / Getty Images

Replace Text File Names With Complete Attachments

To attach the original message's attachments to your reply instead of using text placeholders in the Mail application for Mac OS X or macOS operating systems:

  1. Open the email that contains the attachment in the Mail application.

    Email with attachment in the Mail app
  2. Click the Reply button without highlighting any part of the text.

    The reply button.
  3. The attachment is reduced to only a text file name along with the quoted original text in the reply screen. If you must highlight and quote selectively, highlight the desired attachment as well.

    Reply to email with text in place of attachment
  4. Select Edit > Attachments Include Original Attachments in Reply from the Mail menu bar to replace the text file name with the complete attachment in your reply.

    LW ED Screenshot Remediation - Existing Content Update - Jun 2020: Edit
  5. Add any additional message or information to the reply and click the Send icon.

    Reply with attachment in Mac Mail app

You can remove the attachments and replace them with text file names again by selecting Edit > Attachments Include Original Attachments in Reply to deselect the setting.

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